STORIES OF struggle were top winners this year’s Metrobank Art and Design Excellence (MADE) Painting Competition.
An image of life and death and of creation and destruction, Kanya-kanyang Tinik, Kanya-kanyang Landas, Iisa ang Ginagalawan by Iloilo-based artist Noel M. Elicana, took the grand award in the oil/acrylic on canvas category.
For its artist, there’s universality in humanity’s hope for the future despite the differences that divide us. “Every single Filipino has their own yoke to carry. But no matter what their differences are, their eyes shine with positive thoughts. These people envision their dreams and are searching to unlock their journey,” he said in a statement.
Division was also the theme in Alex P. Ordoyo’s painting, Destroyed, which won him the grand award in the watermedia on paper category.
Mr. Ordoyo captured the devastation after the siege in Marawi City: the houses, mosques, and establishments in shambles, which reminded viewers that war was not a thing of the past, but it can happen right here, right now, right before our eyes.
“I am not from Marawi, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t have the license to do a representation of this reality,” Mr. Ordoyo told BusinessWorld during the awarding ceremony on Sept. 20.
The artist, who, like Mr. Elicana, hails from Iloilo, said the style he used for the piece — representational cubism — let the audience ponder the full intensity of the war and be confronted by this reality.
Another winning theme in this year’s competition was the struggles of mothers.
The Sacrifice by Francis Eugene E. Andrade got a special citation in the oil/acrylic on canvas category.
The eerie piece, done in sepia tones, shows three uniforms carefully hung on the wall and a mother’s silk dress carelessly lying on the table. Using the clothes as his metaphors, Mr. Andrade showed the sacrifices of a household’s matriarch in order to fulfill her kids’ dreams. But the clothes do not only portray the struggles of a mother, but the children who are sent outside the comforts of their home to find work and meaning in their own lives.
Roland F. Llarena meanwhile questioned the meaning of home. His work, The Diminishing Memories of Home, received a special citation in the oil/acrylic on canvas category, and depicted what “home” meant to someone who’s always leaving.
At the center of his work is a colorful piece of luggage in front of a dilapidated ancestral home done in sepia tones. Painted in the colors of the Philippine flag, the bag represents overseas workers and their stories and struggles of hard work and migration.
For the artist, the concept of home is never rooted in one place, but it’s always moving and is something that is transportable.
Meanwhile, Maria Ronna Lara-Bes won this year’s Grand Award for the Sculpture Recognition Program with Interconnected, a medley of spheres representing Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, and lines symbolizing binding ties. For this category, sculptors were challenged to design an public art installation for the Atrium Lobby of Met Live mall in Pasay City.
Art reflects our realities. For Mr. Aniceto Sobrepeña, president of the Metrobank Foundation Inc. which runs the art awards, “there will always be problems that need to be solved, questions to be answered, and challenges to be faced in our country,” he said during the MADE awarding ceremony at Le Pavillion, Pasay City.
He added: “Art doesn’t presume to provide the solution to the concerns of a nation. At its extreme best, art can serve as a catalyst to discover answers or a way to address the situations and circumstances we face. By continually challenging us to shift our frames of reference, art can help us uncover alternative approaches and discover a breakthrough for our lives, personally and for this nation.”
Now on its 34th year, MADE serves as a platform to discover emerging names in the art scene. The Painting Competition is open to Filipino artists between the ages of 18 to 35 who have not held a solo exhibition while the Sculpture Competition is open to professional Filipino sculptors who have staged at least one solo exhibit. Among the past awardees are Elmer Borlongan, Mark Justiniani, Jan Leeroy New, Salvador “Buddy” Ching, and Andres Barrioquinto. — Nickky Faustine P. de Guzman